CPU or GPU | Which Should you Choose

CPU or GPU | Which Should you Choose for Gaming?

When a game on your PC stops, an application runs slowly, or the screen takes an eternity to load when starting up, it’s time to know: Your computer needs an update since it is operating slowly. Your computer has a ton of parts. Therefore you need to be careful while updating the specific component that can increase speed. After reading this article, you’ll understand the essential determining factors for replacing PC components, especially if you first need to change the CPU or GPU.

The problem starts here; you get confused about which essential part requires an upgrade to prioritize. Believe me. Everyone who wants to design a low-cost setup that satisfies their requirements eventually finds themselves in this situation.

Be sure to check out our many other buying guides, including the

CPU Vs. GPU: What are the Differences?

The main contrast between a CPU and a GPU is that a CPU controls various systems, while a GPU focuses on a single job. The CPU is the essential tool required for your computer to work, while a GPU handles just one element of computer processing. A GPU cannot work in the absence of a CPU.

It uses data from the CPU to produce visuals that the user can see on display. That data, however, cannot exist without the CPU. A GPU is believed to be more restricted in function in some aspects; although it is quick, the processes needed are simple and repetitive.

Because the activities are so repetitious, your GPU does not need all of your CPU’s capabilities. It’s superior in what it does, but it can’t do everything else that a CPU controls. As a result, CPUs are known as General Purpose Processors, while GPUs are known as Special Purpose Processors.

What is a CPU?

CPU is an abbreviation for Central Processing Unit, sometimes the processor. Millions of transistors make up the computer’s logical component. The processor’s ability to regulate other PC components and work together is critical. When you provide a command on the PC, the CPU assigns the work to the appropriate component. That is why the processor is essential.

What is a GPU?

GPUs are also made up of multi-million circuits that are specialized to increase graphics performance. The CPU is the central component that manages the primary components, while the GPU is designed to meet technical needs. The fundamental difference between the two components is that the CPU is responsible for the overall speed of your computer. Still, the GPU has no other function than to increase the quality of graphical material. That is the distinction between a CPU and a GPU.

How does GPU architecture differ from CPU?

The primary distinction between CPU and GPU architecture is that CPUs can perform a broad variety of activities fast (measured by CPU clock speed), but they are restricted in task concurrency. GPUs generate high-resolution pictures and video fast.

When Should You Upgrade the Processor?

If money is not your issue, there is only one straightforward solution. Yes, you are correct; anytime you like. But sadly, the cost is an important consideration when updating.

In general, CPUs are designed to endure for a very long period. In principle, processor chips are unbreakable. You are not required to use it indefinitely just because of that.

Before upgrading the CPU, you should consider these three crucial issues. Is your CPU operating correctly? Is your CPU causing the GPU to run slowly? Do you need more cores to outperform the existing performance?

You will be able to determine whether or not you need to update your CPU by responding to these queries. However, there are sure signs, and by observing them, you can also decide whether or not it will be advantageous for you to upgrade the CPU.

To update your CPU, consider the following:

Ineffective Performance

Your PC shouldn’t take more than two minutes to power on and off unless there are some serious problems (excluding SSD). The turn-on time is sometimes lowered to a minute by installing an SSD.

If your PC is running longer than this, you should open the PC compartment and add the thermal paste to see if the performance improves. Even after that, the speed didn’t increase, so it was time to make some changes.

Inability to Overclock

Resetting any component of your personal computer is required before overclocking it. You may overclock your CPU to increase its essential speed. It raises the processor’s clock speed.

However, you cannot overclock the CPU while locked to the manufacturer’s inflexible clock speed. You can’t overclock or improve the performance of an outdated CPU. That is when you should consider upgrading your CPU.

Failure to Operate with Current Software

Although current software needs a modest CPU setup to install on your computer, it usually uses energy when running. The new CPUs have features such as automated boost-up for a certain length of time, decreased power consumption, a systematic approach to handling diverse workloads, and so on. If you believe your current CPU lacks these qualities, upgrading should be preferable.

Follow our guide to How Long Do GPUs Last?

CPU is a Bottleneck

Failure to offer the appropriate performance owing to compatibility concerns is referred to as a bottleneck. The CPU becomes a bottleneck when all other PC components are up to date and save the processor. When this occurs, your computer demands additional computational power, which the CPU cannot provide.

You should consider upgrading your CPU if any of the situations above apply to you.

When is a Good Time to Upgrade Your GPU?

There isn’t much of a need to improve your GPU unless you intend on running a professional workstation or playing high-resolution games. The lifetime of the GPU is another factor. GPUs on the market typically operate at maximum efficiency for four years. Following that, GPU often loses its functioning.

Check out our separate post on Can You Run Two Monitors on Two GPUs

Playing games with a poor frame rate could irritate a dedicated player. The moment is right to replace your GPU at that point. That’s not all, however. You should update the GPU if your present GPU exhibits specific problems, such as excessive heating or frequent frame drops.

The following signs indicate a need for a GPU upgrade:

Excessive CPU Heat

When your graphics processing unit (GPU) cannot function at its full potential, your central processing unit (CPU) takes over and minimizes the potential performance problem. Because of this, your central processing unit operates much above its capabilities and generates excessive heat. If this is happening on your computer, you may want to think about updating the GPU.

Frame Drop is Constant

Constant frame drops are another symptom that your GPU needs to be upgraded. You may observe unexpected frame skimming when playing a game or producing a movie if your CPU is performing well, but your graphics card is not performing well.

Follow our guide to fixing Base Clock vs Boost Clock for CPU and GPU

It is typical to anticipate a GPU to provide 60 frames per second on a 1080p monitor. If your GPU struggles to keep up with the FPS, it’s time to update.


As previously mentioned, the typical lifetime of current GPUs is four years. If you have an older GPU, future games with high graphics and video rendering will be impossible or difficult to run for your GPU. These are the reasons why you should upgrade your GPU.

Are you experiencing any of these scenarios when your computer is switched on? Consider your options carefully before making a decision. Before you decide to increase the CPU or GPU, keep one thing in mind: CPU and GPU bottleneck. 

What is a CPU or GPU Bottleneck and How to Identify Them?

A bottleneck occurs when your computer requires more power and processing speed to operate an application. Nonetheless, it cannot launch the program due to a lack of performance. A bottleneck develops when the critical components of a computer are incompatible with one another.

When a GPU or CPU becomes a bottleneck, one supplies its supreme power to handle the program while the other struggles to operate that massive power. For example, if you create a setup with an i9 10th gen CPU and an r7 250x GPU, the graphics card would most likely be unable to compete with the processor. It is known as a GPU bottleneck.

Do check our latest post on the Why is My GPU Usage So Low?

On the other hand, combining an RTX 3090 with an i5 5th gen processor might result in a CPU bottleneck. Consider this before deciding to update a CPU or GPU. Furthermore, the performance bottleneck might assist you in determining which component to improve first. If the GPU is slowing down the CPU or vice versa, you may choose which to improve first.

It would help to determine which of your present PC components is the bottleneck. There are easy approaches to doing this. Continue reading to discover.

The method to determine which component is slowing down your computer is as follows:

  • Start a quick-paced game on your PC first. Make sure the game is also relaxing for the eyes. Your GPU is to blame if you discover that the game has a significant rendering issue.
  • The CPU, on the other hand, is responsible when the visual rendering is perfect, yet the game lags.
  • After that, try a new strategy. It is required to download MSI Afterburner or other monitoring tools like Open Hardware Monitor, MangoHUD, etc.
  • Start a game that is compatible with the hardware in your setup. Play for a while and use MSI afterburner to monitor your GPU and CPU utilization.

You’ll be able to tell which component must be upgraded first if the GPU uses 100% of the system’s power and the CPU uses around 50%.

Is the GPU superior to the graphics card?

The fundamental distinction between a GPU vs graphics card is that a GPU is a component within a graphics card that processes pictures and graphics. In contrast, a graphics card is an extension card inside a device that produces images for output.

What are the Benefits of Upgrading a New CPU or GPU?

Various PC components improve your computer’s performance to varying degrees. For instance, a GPU’s speed improvement over a CPU in data management is incomparable.

On the other hand, the gaming performance of a GPU is comparable to that of a CPU. Accordingly, a system’s CPU and GPU have various functions.

You’ll probably obtain a faster core clock when you update a CPU. It will guarantee more direct instruction of the other PC components. More cores are also added as a result of CPU upgrades. It considerably improves CPU performance.

Most contemporary CPUs are built to make use of many cores. More core equates to better task management effectiveness.

However, if you improve your GPU, you’ll have more VRAM and be able to produce better visuals. A modern, powerful GPU will eliminate the latency and stutters when processing or editing huge movies.

The computer will operate faster with a new GPU, and video games will play smoothly. After outlining the advantages of a new GPU and CPU, it’s time for you to choose which component to update first.

Do check our latest post on the Does CPU Affect FPS


Central Processing Unit: CPU. Control every aspect of a computer.

Graphic Processing Unit: GPU. Boost the computer’s visual performance.

Tensor Processing Unit: TPU. ASIC is explicitly designed to speed up TensorFlow projects.

Several coreThousands of CoresMatrix based workload
Low latencyHigh data throughputHigh latency
Serial processingMassive parallel computingHigh data throughput

Which Component should I Upgrade First, the CPU or GPU?

Your requirements and budget will determine which component needs an update. You may boost any of them if gaming or video rendering are your top priorities. However, if you don’t need extensive graphics activities, you should first improve the CPU.

Check out our expert-recommended Should I Overclock My CPU

Numerous fast-paced games need more CPU power than GPU to expand on the previous statement. I would definitely advise getting a new CPU if you are into them. But if you find it difficult to exclude video rendering from your list of priorities, consider purchasing a GPU.

You already know the main point of this article, which is that you need to pick what you want to do with your desktop for a more extended time.  The need for CPU and GPU upgrades has been discussed. You are the one who must make the determination of which situations resemble you and decide what steps to take.


Upgrading your system may be thrilling, mainly if you know you’re getting the most critical component. This comprehensive guide will help you identify which part needs to be upgraded first. Whether to replace your CPU or GPU rather might be challenging.

Also, check out our separate post on CPU Overheating

Upgrading your system may result in an experience that is both fascinating and expensive. Consider your intended purpose when selecting an update for typical work applications, editing, or gaming. If your CPU is still working and you’re a gamer or graphic editor, it could be wiser for you to upgrade your GPU first.

FAQs for CPU or GPU

What is better CPU or GPU?

Due to massive parallelism, GPUs can process data many times faster than CPUs, but they are not as flexible as CPUs. CPUs can handle all of a computer’s inputs and outputs because they have a large number of instructions. This is something that a GPU cannot do.

Is CPU or GPU better for gaming?

If you’re building a PC to play games, the GPU is the most important thing you’ll buy. Other parts, like the CPU, storage, and RAM, can also affect performance, but the GPU has the most direct effect on what you see on the screen when you play.

Should I upgrade GPU or CPU first?

Most of the time, you should upgrade your CPU before your GPU if games are stuttering or if your CPU is always being used at 100%. A GPU upgrade should come first for a computer that has trouble rendering graphics in games with a lot of visuals. This answer is way too short.

Do CPUs last longer than GPUs?

Most of the time, CPUs last longer than GPUs. They can keep working well for many years, while a graphics card only lasts a few years.

Should I go for better CPU or GPU?

The key distinction is that GPUs feature far fewer but more compact control units, ALUs, and caches. So, whereas a CPU can manage anything, a GPU excels at specialized tasks and can do them very quickly. When the CPU is inundated with a large number of relatively simple but time-consuming activities, problems arise.